Friday, 31 July 2015

Fog and 'bergs......

The trip from St John's Hbr proved eventful in so far as the drone of the engine was suddenly pierced by Bee shrieking that she could see Orca's. And so she could; 3 in total and looking like 2 adults and a young 'un. They passed across our bow and then reappeared some distance of to starb'd giving us yet another tick off item. Walrus and Narwhal we're hoping to add to “seen that” Spent the night at St Barbe.
The forecast was for southerlies later in the day. Well it didn't arrive of course but fog did and by late afternoon we were moving slowly through a dense grey coating. Visibility was poor and then we heard the forecast was now for Sth 30 knots. Well we were heading NE so ordinarily we would welcome 30 knots from astern. But with little vis that made things a tad uncomfortable....I began putting in a reef as the seas were lumpy and the main gets thrown about in these situations. It was as I was finishing off the task that Bee remarked quietly....”..isn't that an iceberg ahead..”? And so it was – a large berg too and the situation suddenly altered as the prospect of fog, strong winds and bergs came together. 

Within an hour we started to see more and they were bigger – at least they showed up on radar but not the growlers or bergy bits and Bee spent some time on the bow calling out directions as we motored between them. By now we had decided to head into Chateau Bay and sit out the blow in safety and provided we could get past the bergs that seemed to blocking our course we would be there around nightfall. As we approached 2 bergs about a mile apart the engine suddenly cut out and stopped. Luckily we were far enough away to simply turn away and sort it out. The system we use for filling the tank on the move had failed (basically a syphon system using hoses and a 'bulb” to start the flow off. I'm guessing that with all the rolling we were under going the syphon had stopped working and the tank had been so empty that the feed to the filters had picked up air. Took a few seconds to check the guages and water then get fuel into the tank and we were moving again albeit slowly as we wanted to allow enough fuel to get into the tank. In the end we got past the bergs, altered course for the entrance , suffered a moments disbelief when it looked as though a berg was grounded across it before realising we had identified the entrance correctly. In we went sending hundreds of eider ducks to flight and dropped the hook so pleased to be in free of the trauma outside. By 6 the following morning we were on the move again as the wind had changed and we were now on a lee shore with about a metre under the keel. Chateau is a neat place but the shelf is tiny and drops away to 30 metres quickly so any anchoring involves getting very close inshore. Hence our sudden departure. We motored out of the bay and set sail for Ship Harbour. Not to be as winds became lighter then headed us before shifting again. We crept past Battle Harbour but gave up and headed into Fox where we could, at least get diesel. To our surprise there were 4 boats already there including Russ and Alison. The gut who gave us a lift to collect the fuel said he'd never seen 5 boats in the harbour at once which is indicative of something. Probably the fact that the weather has been so poor that no boat had yet left for Greenland had something to do with it. We have decided not to head that way ourselves for a variety of reasons not least lack of wind plus an abundance of fog and bergs.
We pushed on the next day for Ship Harbour but it wasn't a wise decision.The wind headed us, we motor tacked the whole way and fog was thick. We were passed (at speed) by a funky looking motor-sailor who were heading up to Occasional Hbr. Like us they'd been living on the boat for 15 years but had spent several winters marooned (by choice) in Greenland. We were stood in the cockpit dressed in warm, weatherproof clothing, steering as they motored by sat in their warm, heated environment clad, no doubt, in t-shirts and slippers.....

R&A joined us the following day and we left for somewhere north. In the end we had a lumpy sail and made it into Punchbowl barrelling in though the narrow entrance with the main still set and found 3 yots and a fishing boat tied up to the dock! R&A of course plus 2 more from Fox Hbr, Nomad and Vagabondelle, Austrian and Polish respectively.


  1. Great to hear from you again. Been awful summer here too. We managed a huge voyage to Cromor and back again ! Take very good care. A&E

    1. Don't knock it - it's still a trip with the added benefit that you get to go home and relax at the end of it.Is it turning cooler now?

  2. Your posts are brilliant guys. The last two got us yearning for a new boat and to get out on the water once more. Hope the bergs don't hassle you to much. Best wishes from Down Under. Steve, Lyn and Katie x

  3. Well mebbe we'll sail down to your neck of the woods and loan you Hannah for the summer....No wait we're meant to be selling..............